Junction loses another fine industrial employer and historical business

100 Symes Rd
100 Symes Rd

Houghton Canada Inc -a global manufacturer and supplier of industrial fluids and chemical management servicesis closing the plant it operates at 100 Symes Road ( Keele and St Clair area) and has placed the property for sale. The company 1st came to the Junction in 1947.

This is really a crushing loss to the areas industrial infrastructure, No doubt the company had good reasons economically, (chemical processes have become very highly centralized) and geographical (area moving to residential and retail use)  The company manufactures such products as…

Metal Working Products
Water Based Machining and Grinding Fluids CleanersSurface Treatment
Rust PreventativesStamping and Forming CompoundsWire Drawing    Compounds Die casting Release Agents Forging Agents Quenching Media
Non-Ferrous Rolling Products Cindol® Oil Based Machining and Grinding Fluids Mould Release Agents Steel process lubricants
Hydraulic Fluids Specialized Lubricants

Tank area of 100 Symes Rd
Tank area of 100 Symes Rd

from their site…

Houghton Canada Inc. first began in 1921, as British American Fuels & Metals Ltd. in Toronto. The purpose of the company, as stated in its incorporation papers, was to ” produce, procure, sell, manufacture, and manage coal, coke, peat, wood, mines, mining, and tramways. Changing its name to Production Materials Ltd. in 1924, the company continued to grow and expand, and in 1947, relocated to its present three-acre site on Symes Rd. in Toronto. Becoming E. F. Houghton & Company of Canada Ltd., the facility has undergone five major expansions and modernization to meet the ever-increasing demand for its products and services. In 1993, it adopted its current name, Houghton Canada Inc., in Keeping with its parent company’s change from E.F. Houghton & Co., to better reflect its worldwide scope.

the listing

building Type: Freestanding
Area Available(SqFt): 52,755
Zoning: I3
Office Size(SqFt): 5,055
Warehouse/Manufacturing (SqFt): 47,700
Power: 600 Volts
Shipping: 6 Truck Levels
Clear Height: 15 Ft 0 In
Possession: Immediate
Deal Type: Sale
Rental Rate(SqFt):
Price: $2,500,000
Comments: – 52,755 sq. ft. ground floor area – Keele & St. Clair area – survey being prepared – Irregular shaped lot – Environmental report will be available


I doubt that it will become residential now with the dead end on Symes, separating the subdivision from the industrial area. The unfortunate thing is that there's very little demand for industrial land in Toronto given the high commercial taxes and usual proximity to middle class residential areas.

The province maintains in many cases that employment lands should be kept for employment, and these factors generally lead to industrial land outside of the high demand residential or office areas becoming ugly big box retail with massive parking lots or empty fields.

This factory is around 70 years old. You should do a post on the neighbouring derelict Symes Transfer Station, a former municipal building with good art deco architecture which should be listed as a heritage structure.

proximity to middle class residential areas, agreed, this makes it a problem, yet we need the jobs and the cultural elements, that a combined (industrial and residential) community needs. The Symes Rd area is core employment land in the Official Plan, hopefully it stays that way. Thanks for your comments, it's good to see there our others in the community attempting to understand the vast and commonly unknown changes taking place in the greater Junction area that will change the character and meaning of the community.

The Symes Transfer Station yes we have about 3 posts started on that building, just waiting to get a friendly city person to allow a few mins on the lot for picture taking, we should have one up soon.

Oh… and one on Banks Brothers too.

Yes I agree if a company pollutes the air action should be taken but Houghton Canada, Environmental Registry
EBR Registry Number: IA03E1743 shows.. No Notices were found at the Environmental Registry.
this link
enter this number IA03E1743

watch the Houghton site for a number of years, has indicated that very little of the tank farm has been in use in the past few years.

Thanks for the tip on Houghton – I'll try and get some information on it for the Historical Society.

Regarding the "Transfer Station" (which I've only ever heard described as the "Incinerator"), I believe an attempt was made to have it listed some years ago, which for one reason or another failed. It is certainly worth looking into, however.

Incinerator it was at 1st – there is a neat ash building at the back and down the hill, you can see the top of it from behind the maintenance building.

Houghton, I have written to request access if you are interested and they allow, let me know.
thejunctioneer@gmail.com Robert

Chances are pollution from this and other companies may not be directly noticeable. There are many chemicals that go airborne, and don't have a noticeable odour. People could be feeling sick and coming down with cancer but never knowing why!

I live down on Bloor and can smell the chocolate bar factory near Landsdowne and Dundas, or Mr Christie's in the west when the wind blows from those directions (both places are over 2 km away) so if noticeable odours can travel this far, so can chemicals without an odour.

Also, there are times that the sewers here smell like Canadian Tire's scent marketing chemicals. St.Clair is a fair bit north of here, so stuff in the sewers can travel and be noticed a long distance away (although why their product is in the sewers is another question).

So, while employment is always necessary, employment with materials that don't harm the neighbours and environment are the way to go.

I'm familiar with the history of the Symes Transfer Station. It was an incinerator with twin brick smoke stacks, which have since been demolished. Incineration ended in the late 1970s, and it was used as a transfer station until the mid 1990s. The sign on the front still says "Symes Transfer Station – site closed". For the record, I have been inside, doing some "urban exploration" in 2004-2005. I have photos, and there are plenty of them on the internet (check Flickr). Unfortunately, it's now covered in graffiti inside, whereas when I visited it was pristine.

It's a shame if this building doesn't get heritage protection, because there are so few heritage buildings in the area, the strong art deco elements give it a lot of character.

Hei , A.R you must have some wonderful images, as you are right it's a mess inside now from many people junking the building. The low rise repair building (at the rear of the lot) gets beat up more and more each week. Did you happen to get a early image – before the fire – image of the office area?

I have photos of the office area in the larger building. It had a lot of peeling paint and was dirty when I was there in 2004, but there was no vandalism or graffiti. The electricity was on at the time. I never got photos of the inside of the low rise building when I dropped by, though it did have some offices as well.

Was there a fire in the main building recently?

I am told by a city guy (who was boarding up doors) there was, you can see the affects – near and affecting the small office window to the right and at a angle of the front doors about 5 meters into the building. He showed me the window which was used to hand out and in way bills. Have you seen the ash building from the bottom of the hill? …walking off the park trail off Terry Rd there is a path which is part of the park but leads to the bottom of the Symes Rd. site, it just follows onto the site no fence, no sign, nothing and you are in front of a concrete bunker with a small hole broken into it, which I researched and found it to be the old ash store.

The low rise building last week [1st week of Feb 09] looked like it will be eventuality demolished simply by all the abuse it takes.

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